Open main menu

Page:Deccan Nursery Tales.djvu/117

This page needs to be proofread.
SOMA, THE WASHERWOMAN

daughters-in-law said, "It is not I," "It is not I," "It is not I." Then Soma became very curious to know who it was. So the following night she did not go to bed. She sat up, but nothing happened until just after dawn. Then she saw the little Brahman girl sweeping the courtyard and her brother cleaning the floor. Soma got up and said, "Children, who are you?" They replied, "We are Brahmans." "But I am only a washerwoman," said Soma; "I am a low caste woman, why do you sweep my courtyard and neap my floor? It will be reckoned unto me as a sin if I accept the service of Brahmans." The boy said, "This is my sister, and a Brahman has told us that unless you come to her wedding she will be widowed shortly after marriage. Our father and mother told us to go and bring you back with us. So, in order to make you pleased with us, we have been working as your servants." "Do not work for me any more," said Soma, "I shall gladly go to your wedding." She then called to her daughters-in-law and said, "I am going to this child's wedding. But if any one of our relations dies when I am away, do not burn his

85